Thinking about which of the city's best walks you'll do will determine where to stay in Sydney.

If you'll be doing other things during your stay, it doesn't really matter where you stay as it's fairly easy to get around… but if you only have a short time in Sydney and like the sound of these walking itineraries, then it's best to stay somewhere really convenient to the start or end of each walk.

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Where to Stay for the Sydney City Walk

The beauty of the Sydney City Walk is you can start and end anywhere. But to hit the major sights, I recommend Circular Quay / The Rocks area (it's near the ferry terminal if you want to squeeze in the Watsons Bay Walk too).

Lots of visitors also like Darling Harbour – it's convenient and has lots of waterside restaurants – but I find it very planned, in a town-planning sort of way. That said, the area is often alive with free cultural events throughout the year.

I recommend Darling Harbour if you're in Sydney for a conference at the Convention Centre and want to sneak in a walk, or if you have a young family (best children's city playground ever! Bring their swimming costume if there's even a remote chance they'll be tempted by the water).

Where to Stay near Bondi or Coogee

Want to spend more time discovering Sydney's most famous beach on the Bondi to Coogee Walk?

Accommodation at Bondi Beach ranges from backpacker hostels to luxe. We enjoyed the location of Hotel Bondi when it was the former Swisotel. These days, I'd love to try the upscale QT Bondi.

Loved by Brits, you could also try Coogee‘s pub culture, although it's less convenient to Sydney's other sights.

For the Spit to Manly walk

The first thing you need to know about where to say in Sydney to do the Spit Bridge to Manly Walk, is that there is nowhere to stay around The Spit. Not even Air BnBs.

Circular Quay and The Rocks area is perfect for the ferry from the city to Manly.

Manly, like Bondi Beach, ranges from beachside hostels to much fancier.

For people who love the outdoors and a bit of history, I highly recommend Q Station. It's a converted and restored quarantine station just out of Manly itself, on North Head (free transfers). Make time for a meal in the restaurant, yum!

Where to stay in Sydney Q Station

Throw open the french doors at the historic Q Station, Manly.

Where to Stay in Sydney for the Watsons Bay walk

There's a boutique hotel at Watsons Bay that's actually part of the pub (speak to reception if you have noise concerns).

It's not as close to the actual Watsons Bay Walk, but consider staying 15 minutes down the road at Double Bay for eastern suburbs swank, at either the 5-star Intercontinental Sydney Double Bay, or 3.5 star The Savoy.

But the most versatile location – in terms of combining this walk with more general Sydney sightseeing – is still the Circular Quay and Rocks area, right near the ferry to Watsons Bay.

For the Bradleys Head walk

Unless you're specifically after the immersive “Roar and Snore” experience staying overnight at Taronga Zoo (in which case this walk would be perfect the next day), just stay around Circular Quay and The Rocks to be near the ferry across to Taronga Zoo where the Bradleys Head Walk starts.

For walks in Royal National Park (Wedding Cake Rock or Figure 8 Pools)

The short answer is to stay in the city centre – perhaps near Central Station, Darling Harbour, or The Rocks – or wherever's convenient to the rest of your Sydney visit. Keep in mind the best train stations to head south to Cronulla (to get the ferry across to the National Park) are Central, Town Hall (near the shopping precinct) and Martin Place (in between the shopping precinct and Circular Quay).

The long answer is here… read more about Royal National Park accommodation.

Where We've Stayed in Sydney – Tried and Tested

We've made an effort to stay in different Sydney locations, and with different budgets, each time we stay in Sydney.

Hotel: Sir Stamford at Circular Quay

  • Date: July 2018 for one night
  • Room: Standard Room with King Bed
  • Pros: Fabulous location near Sydney Opera House and the new eateries at Circular Quay (including the delicious Zumbo Patisserie). Spacious and tastefully furnished room overlooking Circular Quay, with french doors opening on to Juliet balcony (fresh air instead of air-conditioning, hooray!). Comfortable king bed, good lighting for reading. Adequate desk space and comfy lounge chair. Big bathroom with large mirrors. Nice toiletries. Lobby and hallways nicely decorated. Free wifi and complimentary bottle of water (but we chose to refill our own bottles to reduce wastage). Friendly, if a little stand-offish, service.
  • Cons: As the name implies, Sir Stamford takes its decorating cue from traditional British and European sensibilities. The overall feeling is heavy and dark – quite the opposite of a fresh, contemporary Sydney experience which may be more suited to someone enjoying Sydney's outdoors.
  • Food: We had the 2 course pre-theatre dinner special in The Dining Room, with house wine. The food was disappointing, lacking in complexity of flavour. The pork belly was overcooked; the barramundi was better. Given the price and experience from dinner, we chose not to buy the a la carte breakfast. The Bar, for an after-show drink, was surprisingly busy with enough atmosphere to forget we were in a hotel's bar – all very genteel though.
  • Who paid? We stayed at our own expense, anonymously.
  • Check prices and availability.

Hostel: Sydney Harbour YHA (The Rocks)

  • Date: September 2018 for one night
  • Room: 4 bedroom dorm (2 bunk beds), used as a private room.
  • Pros: Convenient location in The Rocks, very near the Sydney Harbour Bridge Walk. The rooftop terrace has great views over the harbour and there are other welcoming common areas. Clean ensuite, with toilet and shower separate. Individual bed lights and powerpoint, with lockers for your bag (bring your own padlock). Linen included, extra for a towel. Free wifi. Friendly service. With door keys provided, our private dorm was just that, with no chance of strangers wandering in to the wrong room. The price, the price, the price!
  • Cons: Let's just say any noise from the ensuite toilet carried into the room! Bathroom sink in room's entranceway to save space. Small room, with not enough seats for 4 people, so half of us sat on the beds. Hard-wearing carpets, scuff marks on the walls.
  • Food: By saving money on the room, we ate out for every meal with numerous nearby cafes and restaurants. So didn't try out the communal kitchen to self-cater, nor grabbed a coffee from the in-house cafe (limited menu and opening hours).
  • Who paid? We stayed at our own expense, anonymously.
  • Check prices and availability.

I've realised that many of the other hotels we've stayed at in Sydney were – ahem – pre-kids, which means any detailed review would be outdated. Generally speaking though, we were happy with our one night stays at:

Hotel: Amora Hotel Jamison Sydney

I'm sure we had a Deluxe Corner King Room, with large windows overlooking the city, beautiful big modern bathroom, and a stone's throw to all the attractions in The Rocks. We stayed here when we did BridgeClimb the first time in 2012. Note the room was complimentary. Check prices and availability.

Unique Hotel: Q Station Sydney Harbour National Park

(Near Manly). We stayed in a Suite (Heritage) room with Queen bed on the first night of our honeymoon walking from Manly to Bondi in 2011. We have been raving about this unique historic accommodation, converted from the original quarantine station, ever since. Check prices and availability.

where to stay in sydney

View of Q Station, Manly. I wish we'd had more time to enjoy the near-deserted Station Beach.


To maintain the feeling of isolation (despite its proximity to Manly), I recommend dinner at their Boilerhouse Restaurant and a sumptuous buffet breakfast too. Next time I'd try to stay longer to really breathe out and enjoy getting away from it all.


Tara Wells is a journalist and former TV and radio producer/presenter who’s delighted to combine her love of hiking with story-telling.

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